Why I became a Pilates instructor?

By Nicole MacAdams Bowes

After a long road in injury, I came to Pilates as an extension of physiotherapy.  My physiotherapist recommended Pilates in Guelph.

After entering the studio I felt relief. I feel like the instructors at Pilates in Guelph respected my body and saw my limits as temporary.  I felt safe and supported.  They gave me tools to move through restrictions ensuring I was safe and making true gains.  With tears in my eyes I exhaled in relief and gratitude.  They really saw my capabilities and strength.

I knew  I needed more Pilates in my life.   I noticed teacher training being offered.  I wanted to learn for myself.  I didn’t know if I could teach others BUT...

What if I could do for others what Pilates has done for me?

What if I could see the capabilities in others and provide them tools to help get there?

What if I could support people to live the life they want to, instead of the life they can manage?

That would be something truly special.

Acknowledging my fear, I exhaled myself back to center.  I took another breath and leaped forward into teacher training!

What a world of wonder. The more I learned the more I saw how much there was to learn.  At times it was overwhelming but the teacher are full of knowledge and encouragement.  Their passion is intoxicating.  They not only teach you the information but teach you how to teach.  Giving lots of tips and personalized feedback.  Everyone at the studio has been welcoming to the field.

Level one complete, can’t wait for level two!

What will Pilates Do for Me?

What will Pilates do for Me?

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Your body is composed of more than just muscle. It is a complex system including bones, connective tissue, joints, fluids, and nerves. These systems work together enabling you to think, move, and be. When these systems are not functioning well together various ailments can develop, including joint and muscle pain, poor posture, weakness, stress, anxiety and poor sleep quality.

Pilates is based on a unique set of principles that trains you to develop your awareness and control of how you breathe, move, feel and think about movement. These principles are practiced during every exercise. The more regularly you practice, the more integrated, smooth, and powerful your movements become and you might also experience a reduction in stress, anxiety and improved sleep.

By Carolyn Dehu

Comprehensively trained Pilates instructor & RMT

What's New?

Course Alert: Anatomy in Motion

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Anatomy in Motion literally changes the way you think about, observe and feel human movement. Fun and interactive, this workshop brings the human structure to life. You gain new insights into how the body moves from different perspectives. The ultimate goal of this workshop is to help you understand how movement is produced at all major joints. This understanding lays the groundwork for accurate neuromuscular recruitment, joint mobility and core control.

This course is for anyone who works with bodies or has a body.  Personal Trainers, Yoga instructors, fitness instructors will advance their career with the information in this course.  Knowing how the body works is essential to working with the body.

This course is for anyone who works with bodies or has a body.

Sunday January 20th 1-7pm 

Link to course at Body Harmonics

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating – Make it Easy with Meal Planning

By Denise Boyd Bsc & RHN


Getting back on track after a bout of parties, big dinners and extra treats can be exactly what our bodies need after the holidays. Having a plan in place is one way to prepare for and avoid times when we’re starving and want to grab the first and often most sugar laden food available. While meal planning might not be a new concept, it isn’t always the most exciting option or it leaves some people feeling restricted.

A simple solution is to limit your choices. Studies have shown that when people are faced with a large number of meal choices we spend more time trying to decide what to eat and often choose less nutrition options. Pick two to three breakfast and lunch ideas and alternate through them as you like.

Breakfast choices could consist of a smoothie packed with greens, overnight oats or whole grain toast with nut butter and a side of fruit. Lunches could be of a rotation of veggies, hummus and whole grain crackers, a salad topped with lean protein, and a veggie based soup topped with nuts or seeds with a side of whole grain crackers or bread.

By keeping choices simple we’re prepared for times when we’re rushed and busy. When the panicked thought of  -“What’s for breakfast or lunch?!”  - hits us, we’re ready to keep our commitment of making our health a priority.

Join Denise on February 2nd for Winter Wellness - Boost Your Immunity 1:30 for more ideas on staying healthy this winter.  

Did You Know?

Did you know that Pilates in Guelph is a teaching studio.  We train people to become Pilates instructors as well as help them maintain their designation through continuing education courses, mentorships and apprenticeships.   The Body Harmonics’ program is top notch.  We share their mission of  sharing our extensive Pilates and movement knowledge and experience with others and creating a positive environment that promotes and encourages lifelong learning.

To support the growth of new teachers, we offer New Teacher classes on select Saturday to give them practice at teaching.  These teachers have passed their level one exam and are on their way to becoming exellent teachers.   Each of these classes will cost $6 including hst.  All Body Harmonics teachers provide safe, effective classes for everyone to try. 

Want to try a class….  Sign up here. The next class is Saturday January 19th at 1:30

October's Equipment feature: Foam Roller

A love…hate relationship in the making.

We use these wonderful tools to challenge our balance and core stability. By adding an unstable surface you automatically recruit the core stabilizers to keep you from falling off!!!! The core stabilizers support you when you’re standing tall, walking, running and even sitting. They help improve your posture and protect your spine. Not only can you use the roller to improve your posture but many use the roller for myofascial release…self massage. Ask Carolyn how she encourages her massage clients to use the roller for just that. Enjoy using the roller in creative ways this month in your classes and also in your home practice.

September 2018 30 Day Challenge. Mark your progress!

September 30 Day Challenge

Before and After markers of your abilities. There are 8 in total. Do the ones you want and share your results.

1.        Ab Series – see video on facebook or YouTube here https://youtu.be/BPFyDVBgNLU

a.       This are a series of 5 classical abs exercises.  Watch the video and choose the options that challenge you but you are able to keep your back still (with a small grape size space under your belly button)

2.       Side Bridge Series – see video on facebook or here on YouTube 


a.       Side Bridges are the unlimited for  building a strong core.  On your forearm or your hand, lift a leg or keep both legs down.  Now form is more important than the length of your limbs. If you feel more on your forearm likely that is where you should be.   When things feel easy, we are often not doing them right!

3.        Standing Knee lift – see video on facebook or YouTube 


a.       This is about rolling the moving leg bone back in the hip socket to release hips. Yes, you read that right, do movement to create release.  The standing leg is going to burn as well.  I suggest 10 knee lifts and go as high as you can without moving your back to the front, to the side (keep your pelvis facing forward) and alternating forward and side.  This will mean you will do 40 knees lifts in total.



4.       Straight leg lift.  You can do this with a band or without. Keep your pelvis neutral (don’t let your low back touch the ground) and lift you leg up to the ceiling or as close as you can.  With the band or strap it will be easier so try it without first and grade yourself.  How high did you get?


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5.       Sitting with legs extended. See picture below.  You want to be right up on the bones that you sit on.


6.       Sitting down test  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tdtHWURId0

7.        Start standing, now lie face down and get back up. Do this 10x. Now do the same thing coming to lie face up 10x. Watch me do it here!  https://youtu.be/Cq7IkAum2Ww

8.       Pick another personal challenge and share with the group!


Instructor Highlight: Sarah Kelly

What do you love about Pilates?

There are so many reasons I love teaching Pilates and also how Pilates makes my body feel. To narrow it down to one answer I would simply say... I love how Pilates makes me feel strong! I can run, climb, jump around with my girls with ease!

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What has Pilates done for you?

Pilates has given me a better understanding on how our incredible bodies works. It has taught me ways to not only strengthen my own body but my children’s bodies as well!! It makes me feel empowered!!!

What do you love about working at Pilates In Guelph?

Easy...I LOVE my clients!! On days when I feel blah and not as pumped to work (we all have those days) I think of all the lovely people in my classes and BAM!! The blahs are gone. They truly are the best clients an instructor could ask for.

Sarah teaches

Mondays 9:30 Reformer Precision Flow, 10:30 Core Reformer and 12:00 Reformer Precision

Wednesdays 9:30 Core Reformer, 12:00 Mat Dynamic

Thursdays 5:30 Dynamic Duo, 7:15 Reformer Precision 8;15 Core Circuit

Friday 9:15 Mat Vertical, 10:30 Core Reformer


Instructor Highlight: Carolyn Dehu RMT



Teacher Of The Month



I am a Pilates Instructor and a Registered Massage Therapist. I've been part of the Pilates in Guelph teaching team since 2011 and began offering massage therapy at the studio in 2015. I received my Pilates training from Body Harmonics, a Canadian company that teaches contemporary Pilates. To date, I have been trained to teach on the Mat, Reformer, Cadillac and Chair. This summer I will complete my training on the Barrels and I have plans to write my Pilates Method Alliance test this winter to achieve our Industry's standard in full certification. I am currently participating in a mentorship study under Katrina Foe, a 2nd Generation Master Pilates Instructor who received her training from Pilates Elder Lolita San Miguel. The purpose of this mentorship program is to deepen and develop my personal and professional practice skills as well as focus training in Pilates customer service and education.

 I am returning from maternity leave this May since the birth of my second child. Life has gotten very busy, and Pilates has been my Oasis both mentally and physically; something I'm sure many of our Clients can relate to. My classes are heavily influenced by the principles of Pilates and tend to be structured with deliberate progressions. I incorporate my knowledge as a Massage Therapist into each session to help deepen my Clients' appreciation for how a consistent Pilates practice can improve their spinal health, joint mechanics, stress levels, facial function and muscle tone. My goal as an Instructor is to help you achieve steady and consistent progress in your own personal practice, and to help instill in you a curiosity and passion for making Pilates part of your daily life. I also hope to be a resource for our Pregnant Clients, teaching prenatal classes and answering questions about how to approach Pilates during this stage in their lives.


You will find me teaching classes on Saturday mornings at our studio in downtown Guelph and treating massage clients during the week at Motion Plus Physiotherapy in the city's south end. I can always be reached at carolynrmt@pilatesinguelph.com. Happy International Pilates Day

Carolyn teaches Saturday morning

9:00 Mat Flow

10:15 Reformer Dynamic

11:15 Reformer Precision

Spiky Domes "Magic Domes"

May spiky domes

Or should we say “MAGIC DOMES”

I can’t say enough about these little porcupines!! We love these domes for releasing tension throughout our entire body. These domes have been nicknamed by many of our clients “Magic Domes” as they have been very successful at alieviting pain in the feet, hips, lumbar spine, thoracic spine and even the head!!! These tools are also wonderful to train balance and build core strength. Find out in class this month how we can use one, two and even three of these domes to make your workout not only challenging but also fun!!!  Check out the videos and try them. We are positive you’ll fall in love with them as well.

Mini Parasetters


The feet are an important factor in your body’s overall health. The MINIS™ fix many problems, and are pleasurable - almost like a foot massage! Created by PMI and Marika Molnar, PT, LaC, MINIS™ are used by various ballet companies, including the New York City Ballet, to rehab and stretch their strained feet. Wether you are an athlete or just love to wear painful shoes, MINIS™ are a retreat for your feet.

MINIS™ help with:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Stress fractures
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Flat feet
  • Loss of balance
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Heel Spurs


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April Instructor Highlight - Paula Skimin

I received my Mat Certification in 2006 from Body Harmonics studio in Toronto. Since
then I have taught both Mat and Private classes.

I have a background in dance and am still able to perform and teach thanks to Pilates.
Pilates has given me new insight into the mechanics of the body. It has increased my
body awareness not just in my own dancing but of the students I teach as well. It helps
me move throughout the day in guidance and knowledge.

I credit Pilates for a career that can often be short lived and feel very lucky to have discovered it. Pilates is a continues reveal as its benefits of the repertoire are so deep. I look forward to
uncovering even more through studying the reformer this year.

It is a pleasure to work at Pilates in Guelph with all these talented and generous teachers and lovely clients.

March Matness Day 31: Pushup

Push up.   Some may think, putting the push up at the end is rather easy.  Those people likely do slopy pushups.  The pushup in Pilates is beautiful.  The elbow bend retracts the shoulder blades to allow for the protraction and engagement through serratus anterior (something that is very hard for most of us to do), then you hinge at your hips, control with your torso (while not moving your hips) and walk your hands through upward rotation to your feet.   Now you have a spine stretch, to recoil the back body fascia and lengthen through the front.    Really the movement is magic and feels that way too.

Primary focus:  Full body integration

Secondary focus: Full body integration :) 

March Matness Day 30: Control Balance

Well you can likely guess what this exercise is about, Control and a little balance.   Sometimes, we just need to move, and control balance gives us that movement.  Don't think so much, you have prepared your body, reach and stretch your spine and limbs and just move.  

Go ahead, you deserve it.  In the video, Sarah is doing a modification on the reformer.  Get the reach and the control using the springs and straps then transfer to the mat.

Primary focus:  Control

Secondary focus:  Stretch and balance

March Matness Day 29: Rocking


Rocking.  There is a video and a picture.  The picture shows me doing rocking on an exercise ball.  A nice variation and way to train the opening of the front body.  The video shows rocking.  Watch the head, ideally the rock comes from an activation of the legs, arms and torso.   My body likes extension and it likes this but my shoulders need a good warm up  before it can happen.

Primary focus: Opening the front body

Secondary focus: Stretch and control

March Matness Day 28: Seal and Crab

To be honest, I rarely do these.   I tried to get my 6 year old to do the video but she is in a phase of saying 'no' so I was out of luck.  They are fun.  They require control and well crab, done well, shows the strength of your neck (and we all need stronger necks, though this is not the exercise to make your neck stronger).  

Primarly focus:  Lengthening the back body

Secondary focus: Control

March Matness Day 27: Boomerang

By the time we get to exercise 27, we are strong, our bodies are working together and we need some challenge.  Boomerang is all about control, while maintaining the stretch through your spine, arms and legs.  It feels beautiful and looks beautiful.   Get out of your head, do it quickly then slow it down and find the control.  

Primary focus:  Full body Movement

Secondary focus: Control